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Minister Martin begins visit to Ireland’s aid programme in Ethiopia

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin has arrived in Addis Ababa at the start of a two-day visit to Ethiopia. This morning, the Minister will visit a number of projects run by Irish missionaries and NGOs. He will meet with Ethiopian political figures, and also with Irish business people who are investing in Ethiopia, creating job and trading opportunities, and helping to build the capacity of the Ethiopian people to reduce poverty.

On Friday, the Minister will visit a health post, schools and local communities in Gedamba, outside Addis Ababa. He will also have discussions with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on development, climate change and political issues, and will discuss regional African issues with the Chairman of the African Union, Jean Ping.

Minister Martin stated: “Ethiopia is making real progress in moving from poverty, hunger and conflict towards development based on economic growth. But it remains one of the poorest countries. We are proud of the contribution Ireland is making in Ethiopia in partnership with the Government and with local communities, and I want to see the impact on lives of Ethiopian people of the cooperation we have developed. I also look forward to seeing for myself how Ethiopian business is developing. Ireland has supported the development of the new Commodity Exchange in Addis Ababa, which I will visit, and I will meet with a number of Irish business people who are investing in Ethiopia and creating new business and trading opportunities”.

Ethiopia has been a priority country for Irish Aid since 1994. The country has made great progress in reducing poverty. The number of health clinics, for instance, has trebled in the past six years. The Government is committed to supporting measures to benefit the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Ethiopia, and this year will provide €26 million in direct assistance, in addition to funding for missionaries and NGOs working in the country.